As promised — the Pet Blogger Challenge! If you’re here and you’ve already written a post answering the questions that Amy of GoPetFriendly.com and I posted last week, simply add the url to the Linky tool, below. If you haven’t written it yet but are inspired to do so, get cracking. You have until 11:59 PM Mountain Time tomorrow (1/11) to add your link.
1. When did you begin your blog?
My first post was on April 12, 2009.
2. What was your original purpose for starting a blog?
I wanted to build an audience for my first book about dogs, Am I Boring My Dog, published September 2009.
3. Is your current purpose the same?
Yes and no. The blog took on a life of its own, but I still hope it’ll be a vehicle to make people aware of past and future books.
4. Do you blog on a schedule or as the spirit moves you?
I’ve committed myself to blogging three times a week because, from everything I read (mostly on ProBlogger), that’s the minimum required to maintain reader interest and because it seems manageable to me. I have been aiming for posts on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, the optimum days for traffic according to those same reliable sources, “aiming” being the operative word. Sometimes I post an extra, a funny picture or silly topic, on Sunday. Just to mix things up.
As for the techniques I use to stick to the schedule, they’re the ones that motivate me for pretty much everything: Guilt and self-flagellation. You probably think I’m kidding.
5. Are you generating income from your blog?
Not really. I sold a few unobtrusive back links to advertisers for a modest one-time fee, I have long been an Amazon Affiliate (though I keep forgetting to affiliate, i.e., post links), and I recently became a Flush Doggy poop bag affiliate (I like to keep things classy on my site). I wouldn’t promote a product I didn’t believe in for the sake of money, unless we’re talking six figures, in which case all bets are off.
Because they both involve writing and editing, I had a misguided notion that my blog would draw people to my writing and editorial business (www.ediejarolim.com) — possibly by osmosis. The fact that I couldn’t figure out how to make this happen was a source of frustration until very recently, when Tom Collins posted Five Blogging Lessons from Edie on the BlogPaws site. Among the lessons that I wasn’t aware I was teaching: You never know what relationships you are creating behind the scenes, including ones that can lead to money.
6. What do you like most about blogging in general and your blog in particular
- Interacting with others. I love the dialogue that many posts create. I never know who’s going to turn up and join the conversation and am always thrilled to discover I’m not just a voice in the wilderness (or the desert). The community isn’t only virtual, however, and for that I credit the visionaries who created the BlogPaws conference, where I have met and become friends with many like-minded bloggers.
- Being able to write about whatever is on my mind. When you write for others, you have to worry about whether what you have to say fits the publication’s format or audience, whether it’s trendy or… well, there are a hundred different hoops you have to jump through. I have no restrictions here except the ones that I impose on myself.
- Not worrying about being edited. As an editor — and compulsive person — I subject my work to a lot of revision so I can say precisely what I want to say in the way I want to say it. Like many other writers, I’m often amazed when my work appears in print with additions of odd spellings and grammatical constructions — and misinformation. Any errors that appear in my posts are mine.
- Learning. Like other forms of writing, blogging involves exploration, looking at different topics and being challenged to figure out what you think about them. It’s rare that I know precisely where I’m going when I start a blog post.
7. What do you like least?
- Putting yourself out there. It’s scary. And I worry about getting responses that will tell me I’m completely off base — or, worse, no responses at all.
- Feeling pressured. Along with the self-imposed pressure to write, and write well, there’s the need to find an effective — and consistent — format for my work. With freedom comes responsibility.
- Dealing with the technical stuff. SEO, keywords, Google analytics, plug-ins, hosts, coordinating Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn… all a necessary evil if I want to communicate with more people. It just doesn’t come naturally to me and I don’t enjoy it.
- Not getting paid. It’s confusing to write for a living and also do it for free. I like consistency and aim for independent wealth so I can blog at leisure.
8. How do you see your blog changing or growing in 2011?
Maybe it’s cheating a little, but I’m going to tell you tomorrow when I introduce a new regular feature to the blog.
As I noted in #7, tech stuff is not my forte. I managed to be late to my own blog challenge, not managing to get my post into the Linky tool until much later.
Frankie is not well again today. I am heartsick about what happened in my home, Tucson. I walked into a glass door Saturday night and smashed my nose. All this to say, I am not as engaged as I would hope, but what I’ve read so far confirms my sense that I’m part of a wonderful community.